One fun idea that many brides employ is to take photos of everyone as they arrive at the wedding, almost like you do at a high school prom or company Christmas party. You can provide a backdrop and couples can pose either for a paid photographer or for whoever happens to pick up the camera. These pictures can be taken with a Polaroid camera for instant fun or with a disposable camera. If you want slightly higher quality photos, go for a digital camera.
This can be an excellent way to keep guests busy and happy until the "official" reception begins with the arrival of the bride and groom.
As an extension of that idea, you can take instant photos and create scrapbook pages or memory book pages with the photos. There can be supplies on hand so guests can create pages on site, or pages can be pre-made and photos simply placed into the prepared spaces. If guests don't want to create pages on site, or the bride doesn't want this particular activity going on, the photos can be saved for later. As a gift for the bride and groom, someone can create memory books with these photos.
If Polaroid cameras are used, another option is to have the people in the photo sign the Polaroid photo and place that in a basket somewhere. The bride and groom will enjoy looking at the photos later.
While it's not a particularly unique idea, many brides like to provide disposable cameras on each table at the reception so guests can capture candid shots of the reception and the table guests. These photos can be added to the newlyweds' wedding album or they can be placed into a separate album showing the wedding from the guests' perspective.
Another fun activity sure to be entertaining is to create a "silent photo guess" area. Here's how this works: before the wedding, someone close to the bride and groom collects pictures of the bride and groom at various stages in life. The photos should depict the bride and groom doing things, not at Christmas or with their first birthday cake. In other words, the photos should include some action, but it shouldn't be obvious in the picture what has taken place or where the person is.
Much like a silent auction, people will come along and look at the photos, then take a silent guess as to what the photos show. They can write their guess on a piece of paper and put it in a numbered basket that corresponds with the number on the photo. Reading these guesses during the reception is entertaining and sure to be amusing. The bride or groom can provide the real answers. This is a particularly fun activity at a relatively small, family wedding where the participants know the bride and groom very well.
If you want to provide an area for guests to have their photos taken but aren't thrilled with the "prom night" idea, how about having a photo corner set up somewhere in the reception hall or facility. Here, the wedding photographer will take candid shots of wedding guests. They might be couples, but could also be entire families, friends having a good time, or the groom being carried on the shoulders of the best man. Whatever the pictures end up being, they provide a fun, "let it all hang out" area for the wedding guests and a surprise for the bride and groom. Since they will likely be busy with all the reception details and having the time of THEIR lives, they might appreciate knowing their guests had a pretty good time too, as evidenced in the photos.
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